Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why The Greeks Matter

-- By Ryan Kouroukis

Out of all the civilizations that have existed, it is perhaps the ancient Greeks that have inspired continuous generations since their brief golden legacy and have contributed more to our modern civilization in all our functions and knowing than anyone else.

Mathematics, Geometry, Science, Astrology, Theology, Medicine, Agriculture, Philosophy, History, Literature, Poetry, Art, Sculpture, Theatre, Music and Dance are among the many genres that have been mastered and developed since the Greeks had originally thrust them into public existence over 2500 years ago.

Much more than the Romans and the ancient Hindus do we owe our technology, langauge, thinking, being and doing...(even though the Greeks were indebted to the Hindus, and likewise the Romans to the Greeks).

To describe everything we've adopted from the Greeks (and Romans), we would need a tongue of iron and a palate of steel!

Rudolf Steiner knew this and I believe that this was at the root and the heart of his renewal of civilization called Anthroposophy. Everywhere we look in Steiner's ouvre, we find connections and links to the ancient Greeks, from his Mystery plays to his Cosmology, from his scientific research to his diverse philosophy. The profound thing is his use of ancient studies consolidated with modern psychology and spirituality.

Truth, Beauty and Goodness were at the foundation of Steiner's spiritual philosophy. This was spoken by the great sages of Greece: Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles and especially Plato. As a side note, it is interesting to notice Anthroposophy (in kernal form) in Buddhism. Their philosophy and way of being resembles the spirituality of ancient Greece in their use of applying the harmony of living of the three virtuistic principles of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

"Everything comes from the Greeks", a wise professor once said, and rightly so. Everything we know as civilization, order and knowledge stems mainly from the Ancient Greek world. What would we be without Homer? Or Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus, Parmenides and Empedocles? Or Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes and Menander? What about Sappho, Pindar and Theocritus? How about Herodotus and Thucydides? Or the great Alexander?

To think about all this is truly a marvel in contemplation and comprehension and the more we aquaint ourselves with the enormous output of the Ancient Greeks the more we will realize that Steiner's Anthroposophy closely follows the wisdom from that Golden Age long past but that is is also incredibly relevant to today's world and tomorrow's future.

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